Middle East

Iraqi city of Kirkuk hit by deadly bomb attack

Media captionThe aftermath of the bomb blast

At least 38 people have been killed in a bomb attack in a cafe in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk, officials say.

The blast happened shortly after 22:00 local time (19:00 GMT). More than 26 people were wounded.

Cafe customers were reportedly marking the end of the day's fast for Ramadan.

It comes after more than 40 people died in a series of bombings and shootings across the country, including in Kirkuk, on Thursday.

Many of those targeted were members of the security forces.

In one of the attacks, 11 people were killed as mourners gathering for a funeral were hit in Muqdadiyah, north-east of Baghdad.

Contested

At least five other people were killed in earlier attacks on Friday. Four policemen died when a checkpoint was targeted in the northern city of Mosul while a senior police officer was shot dead in Sharqat, north of Baghdad.

More than 2,500 Iraqis have died in violent attacks since April, according to UN figures released last week.

The recent surge in violence comes amid heightened tensions between Iraq's Sunni and Shia communities, and claims by the Sunnis that they are being marginalised by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's Shia-led government.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the latest bombing in Kirkuk.

With its massive oil reserves, the city - home to a mixture of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen - is one of the most bitterly contested of Iraq's disputed territories.

"We don't know why we were targeted today," Yahya Abdulrahman, the owner of a cafe in the same area as the bombing, told Reuters news agency.

"Those that were targeted today are people of Kirkuk from all its components."